As the end of spring practice approaches, Texas Tech offensive coordinator Eric Morris has a two-deep in mind at his receivers positions.
Three of the four starters were more or less known when spring began with Jakeem Grant and Bradley Marquez at the inside receivers and Reginald Davis at flanker. Now the depth is starting to take shape.
Morris said if the Red Raiders had a real game Saturday, he’d have Derreck Edwards behind Davis at flanker and junior-college import Devin Lauderdale behind D.J. Polite-Bray at split end. Jordan Davis backs Grant at H inside receiver, and Dylan Cantrell is the No. 2 to Marquez at Y inside receiver.
Morris said Lauderdale “is making steps” and Edwards has made progress, even though he’s missed a couple of weeks while injured.
“He’s learning how to work his routes,” Morris said of Edwards, “and becoming a little more savvy out there on how to use his speed.”
Cantrell has divided his time this spring between inside receiver and flanker.
“He knows both positions now, inside and outside,” Morris said. “He’s kind of a swing guy and a wild-card guy that understands everything and definitely can get the job done.”
Asked who outside the two-deep has impressed, Morris singled out former walk-on Brent Mitcham, an inside receiver who’s scrimmaged well. The 5-foot-8, 185-pound senior from Houston Cypress Creek has caught four passes in each of the team’s two open scrimmage and scored a touchdown in Friday night’s action.
“I think Brent Mitcham’s done a great job,” Morris said. “He’s a kid that walked on here and has earned a scholarship. He works really hard and is getting better. I definitely would not be scared to put him into a game right now.”
Not happy, not alarmed
Texas Tech’s offense carved up the defense during Friday’s scrimmage, letting DeAndre Washington break a 55-yard touchdown run and allowing quarterback Davis Webb to go off. Webb completed his first 13 passes and finished 23 of 29 for 342 yards and five touchdowns.
Defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt wasn’t happy about it, nor was he especially alarmed.
“The Friday night deal was embarrassing for us defensively,” Wallerstedt said. “That’s not really how we’ve been practicing. We’d been back and forth with the offense like a typical spring, and then it was top-heavy offense and really poor tackling, poor on the perimeter, poor pursuit angles Friday.
“I challenged them (Monday) to step up and respond, and we were able to do that a little bit.”
Wallerstedt has said throughout the spring that he’ll be counting on contributions from players not on campus yet, especially defensive line signees and defensive backs.
“There’s a lot of combinations we’re putting on the field right now,” he said, “so I wouldn’t get too concerned about what exactly the overall picture looked like.”
FS Keenon Ward continues to be one of the most talked-about players of the spring. Defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt said Ward “might be the defensive MVP of the whole spring.” ... SS J.J. Gaines has returned to spring practice for 7-on-7 work with limited contact, Wallerstedt said. Gaines is recovering from shoulder surgery that caused him to miss the last seven games of the 2013 season. ... S Jalen Barnes is being handled in a similar way, participating with limited contact as he comes back from shoulder surgery in August.
Compiled by Don Williams